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Two youth from EMpower partner, Hong Kong Unison, complete Citi’s inaugural Progress Award Program!

Posted 23 October 2019 in EMpower News, Grantee Partner News   |   Share


Henna Bashir and Nissar Ahmed, beneficiaries of a program run by EMpower partner Hong Kong Unison, have successfully completed a short-term internship through the inaugural ‘Citi Progress Award Program’ which was launched in May this year.

About the program

In 2018, the Citi ‘e for education’ campaign emerged as the overall winner at the Citi Global Progress Awards for its role as a positive social impact agent and its contribution to global economic growth and progress. As a result, the Citi Progress Award Program was launched to expand the reach of the initiative and to introduce young people to the world of global finance.

Selection Process

On receiving news about the program from Citi, EMpower reached out to its grantee partner pool in South-East Asia and India, and submitted applications in May. Hong Kong Unison sent in applications on behalf of Henna and Nissar, who are currently receiving scholarships from Hong Kong Unison and are involved in the work that it does. Hong Kong Unison works with ethnic minority students to aspire for achievable life and career goals aligned to their interests.

Both, Henna and Nissar, went through a highly competitive process, including personal interviews, to be finally selected for the two-week long internship at Citi’s Asian headquarter located in Hong Kong. The internship commenced on August 5th and ended on August 16th in which each participant had a full schedule covering all 10 days in the office. Through this internship, Citi’s ‘e for education’ aims to provide young people like Henna and Nissar a valuable insight in to working within the financial sector and help them in decision-making before the onset of their professional careers/about their professional choices.

Feelings about getting the internship

Rita Bonomally and Jacqueline Chen from EMpower’s team in Hong Kong met Henna and Nissar before the internship started. Henna is the first person in her family to go to University; she went to community college before getting a spot to read management and finance at Hong Kong University for Science and Technology.

She said, “During the interview, I was asked to introduce myself and given scenarios to problem solve. I was asked what I know about banks which I didn’t know very much about.”

Henna expressed her sentiment about being offered the internship: “When I received the notification that I was selected, I was really excited.”

Nissar, who is studying Finance at City University said that he would like to graduate quickly to support his family financially.

Recalling his interview experience, Nissar said, “I was asked to introduce myself. I told them I was working with a few friends on a start-up and love joining competitions (for e.g. hackathons).”

Program design

Henna and Nissar, along with all other participants were paired with a mentor each, in-charge of guiding them at every stage. The program was designed to provide structured exposure to the dynamic sales and trading business at Citi. Each participant was rotated through various key roles and disciplines during the internship to optimize their time there.

Expectations from the program

Through the opportunity, Henna said that she hoped to gain more exposure to the world of finance and Nissar said that he hoped to build networks and find a mentor.

We are truly ecstatic about opportunities such as Citi’s Global Progress Award program that open up doors for young people from Emerging Market countries to learn about global finance, develop relationships within the sector and equip them with sufficient knowledge to make informed decisions about the career pathways they choose.

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